Diamond marquetry. It just sounds cool. You can almost picture a bunch — a very exclusive bunch — of artisans hunched over their benches, painstakingly sifting through piles and piles of beautifully cut, but endlessly irregular, diamonds, selecting the next one to become part of their masterpiece. Graff is a company perhaps better known globally for its stones than its watches but, as an ever-present Baselworld exhibitor these days, that may be starting to change. And although it would take some overhaul for Graff’s timepieces to replace its sparkle, at least being mentioned as a quality maker of both in the same breath would be an achievement. If the Graff GyroGraff Endangered Species Collection doesn’t put the brand on the map, I don’t know what will.
Model: GyroGraff Endangered Species Collection
Dimensions: 48mm × 17.25mm
Water Resistance: 30m
Case Material: White gold and diamonds
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire crystal
Movement: Mechanical hand-winding
Power Reserve: 65 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Alligator strap with deployment clasp buckle (diamond-studded)
Price & Availability: 5 unique pieces, 4 released at Baselworld. POA
Okay, so, legibility of the time itself may be a teensy bit of a problem, but there’s no missing the enormous (and devilishly futuristic) tourbillon just past 6 o’clock, nor the ginormous 3D moon-phase indicator around 10 o’clock. Peeking out from all this glorious madness at 1 o’clock is a power-reserve indicator that has a 65-hour duty on a full wind.
As the name of the collection suggests, each of these pieces (all of which are unique) features an endangered species (according to World Wildlife Fund data) on the dial. The emotive faces of these threatened creatures take up the righthand side of the dial. There will be five entries in this collection in all, but only four will be making their way to the fair. The four on display in Basel this week feature the tiger (127 diamonds), the panda (112 diamonds), the elephant (135 diamonds), and the gorilla (139 diamonds). Only the rhino will stay at home, presumably because he couldn’t get the horn through airport security.
Graff’s watch division is roughly 11 years old now, and I feel this range is a big leap forward for the brand. Stone selection and setting have always been off the charts, but there is next-level flair at play here that aligns the brand nicely with some of the finest jewelry-led brands in the industry. Marquetry deserves a place in dial design, and it’s pleasing to be seeing more and examples of this fine and engaging art form make its way into our craft.
With a huge amount of luxury industry experience gained from almost 60 years in the diamond trade, Graff knows a thing or two about product placement. And that’s exactly why it’s able to push the design envelope with releases of this nature. Unfortunately, information on the movement used inside these undeniably artistic creations is scant. All that we know is that it is a mechanical, hand-wound caliber. The 65-hour power reserve bodes well in terms of quality, but no caseback shots means we can only speculate as to the finishing and base caliber used to power these watches. Nonetheless, they are special items, created for very exclusive customers who want to contribute to a good cause as part of their luxury lifestyle pursuits. Discover more about the company at graff.com